Clean Energy – Twenty years ago, the Scottish island succeeded for the first time in the world combining a range of green energies, from hydroelectricity to solar. Today, residents still monitor their consumption to preserve their independent production.
LCI Editorial Staff –
On this earthy confetti, rain, sun and wind compete for the sky. The Isle of Eag, a one-hour boat ride from the Scottish Highlands, has made it a force to be reckoned with: for nearly 20 years, it has opted for green energy. “It is the first island in Scotland to be decarbonised”Camille Dressler, the head of this article, rejoices in the report of a French woman who has lived on the island since the 1980s. Like them, one hundred residents live there.
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At the port exit, the grocery store, which functions as “Center of the Island”, offers wholesale sales and has banned plastic bottles. and that’s not all : “All electricity comes from our renewable energy system”, explains Camille Dressler. On the island’s only road, only eight kilometers long, cars still run on diesel. But it is one of the few deviations from the island’s green policy, with a de facto autonomous power station at its heart. “We are waiting for the subsidy for the electric bus”, one of the residents and employees of this plant, requests Greg Carr to board his van.
multiplication of green energy
On site, the boxes collect energy from solar panels, others of wind turbines and some to calculate hydroelectricity. Succeeding in getting different sources of clean energy to work together, the island first signed on to a world one twenty years ago. “There is no sun today, so taking hydraulics and providing 46 kW at the moment”, Gabe Mack, another employee of the plant, gives the details of Varish.
Everything is connected to batteries grouped under a prison garage, which stores hundreds of kilowatts, enough to supply all the residents. Furthermore, considering the large green and misty plains of the island, one notes that there are no poles on the horizon. “Everything is buried, with an underground cable supplying every house on the island, that is, about forty”, explains Camille Dressler.
To the west of the island, the most agricultural part, but the windiest, stand four wind turbines, each producing 6 kWh of energy. They were set up with utmost care. “In order to establish them, we had to conduct a study so that they would have the least impact on our landscape”, notes the Frenchwoman. They are complemented by solar panels and hydroelectric dams, a set of installations that cost two million euros in total, paid for by Europe for two-thirds. Connecting to the mainland would have cost them three times as much.
“Each house is limited to 5 kW of electricity”
This local energy generation has transformed the lives of residents. “With 24 hours electricity and internet, life becomes easier, Soligne Greg Carr. You can work from home and live on the island.”
But to keep the system running, residents have also installed some special meters in their homes: “When I turn on my kettle, for example, I also see my consumption go up,” points to teacher Sue Hollands on the island. does. , Each household is limited to 5 kW of electricity. If you pass, the power goes out.” This range requires more economical behavior: “If I turn on the kettle, I can’t turn on the dishwasher at the same time!”
Since the purchase of the island by its residents in 1997 for 1.5 million pounds (about 1.7 million euros), the owners have come together as a kind of trustee, “Egg Trust”, On top of this, Camille, Sue, and a third woman, appointed to four renewable years, have every intention of not deviating from the principles of the island. “Respect for the environment, sustainable development, so we should not impose excessive tourism, or more extensive alternatives that do not suit our ambitions and our challenges”, recalls Camille Dressler. On the island, nothing can be done by the agreement of the top trio: the railings necessary to preserve this autonomous setting.
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